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18 Nov 2009

Gay Puerto Rican teen found dismembered and partially burned

A three-paragraph posting on CNN’s citizen journalism website by an unrelated observer about an investigating officer's 'he-deserved-it' comment and the local media's near silence led to international coverage and swift arrest of a suspect.

The body of 19-year-old Jorge Steven Lopez Mercado was found by the side of the road in Cayey, a city near the victim’s hometown of Caguas, Puerto Rico on Nov 13. He was partially burned, decapitated and with both arms and legs dismembered from his torso. 

Above: 19-year-old Jorge Steven Lopez Mercado is said to be very well known in the gay community. Bottom: 26-year-old male suspect

News of the case first made it rounds when bloggers publicised an unvetted report that appeared on CNN’s citizen journalism website, iReport, on Nov 15. Titled “Brutal gay hate crime murder in PR not being covered,” the report posted by a 24-year-old Christopher Pagan quoted local Spanish-language newspapers as saying that the victim was openly gay and a police investigator who told a local paper that the victim deserved what he got because of the “type of lifestyle” he was leading.

News of the brutal slaying has reverberated throughout the gay and lesbian community in the United States as bloggers and observers immediately condemned the investigator's  comment, and demanded that he be removed from the case due to his bias. A Facebook page called "Justice for Jorge Steven Lopez - End Hate Crimes" has been started to demand an investigation by Puerto Rico Gov. Luis Fortuno and prosecution of the slaying under the Federal Hate Crimes Law. As Puerto Rico is a US territory, federal agencies have jurisdiction over the group of islands located in the northeastern Caribbean.

International news wires and CNN have since followed up on the case in which a 26-year-old male suspect identified by Primera Hora newspaper as Juan A. Martínez has been arrested on early Tuesday morning.

According to gay news blog Pam's House Blend which translated a report on El Nuevo Dia.com, the website of a Puerto Rican newspaper, police have found a wig, a burned mattress, a PVC water pipe that was burned, a knife, and blood stains on the wall of the suspect’s backyard.

US-based GLBT civil rights group Equality Forum on Tuesday called on US Attorney General Eric Holder to have the FBI investigate.

“The Matthew Shepard Amendment empowers and requires the federal government to prosecute this horrific murder,” said Malcolm Lazin, Executive Director, Equality Forum in a statement, referring to the new legislation that President Obama signed the bill into law on Oct 28, 2009.

The federal hate crimes act enables federal agents to investigate hate crimes, especially where there does not appear that a full and fair investigation will be undertaken.

Puerto Rican gay activist Pedro Julio Serrano stated, “It is inconceivable that the investigating officer suggests that the victim deserved his fate, like a woman deserves rape for wearing a short skirt.”

"The brutality of the slaying and the fact that he was openly gay leads us to believe it was very possibly a hate crime.” Serrano was quoted as saying by CNN.

“Equality Forum joins Puerto Rican activists in condemning the statements of the investigator and calls on Police Superintendent Figueroa Sancha to terminate the officer,” stated Lazin, a former federal prosecutor; who had received the US Attorney General’s Distinguished Service Award, the department’s highest annual honour. “It is clear that without federal intervention, there can be no fair and complete investigation.”

Extract of Christopher Pagan’s letter on why he had taken it upon himself to let the world know

Once the news aired on television the police officer at the time, before knowing what we now know about the murder said that: “When one chooses this sort of lifestyle, these type of things happen”. The gay community was offended that on Puerto Rican television we were called side show freaks, that deserve whatever we get. As if a 19 year old was asking to be murdered and chopped up into pieces.

Suddenly Puerto Rico and its LGBT were put on the map and the world was watching and waiting. The Sunday I had posted my letters, the local PR MEDIA SPOKE ABOSLUTLEY NOTHING ABOUT THIS CRIME. On Monday it all changed, IT WAS FRONT PAGE NEWS. The LGBT around the world were uniting together to fight and denounce hate and show Puerto Rico that they cared.

Jorge’s killer was found hours later, which is very unheard of in Puerto Rico and its murders. The constant pressure and press worldwide forced the local government to act and obligated the local authorities to bring justice to this crime. Pedro Julio Serrano was also a huge part in the process. He handled the media and its good and negative feedback on the case, and went out of his way to clear and correct any negative press. And he was also the person that DENOUNCED AND DEMANDED that the homophobic officer who made the earlier statements to be removed from the case.

The LGBT community of Puerto Rico is completely touched and amazed by the support and love that it has received worldwide. Jorge managed to unite a community, and island, a nation, A PLANET. He had high hopes to become an important figure in beauty and fashion. Not one negative comment has been made by his friends and loved ones. All have said that all they can remember is laughing constantly with him and his charismatic persona. He always dreamt of being an important figure, well now JORGE IS A ICON, A MESSENGER OF CHANGE. He will change the way people see bigotry and brutal acts of hate.

I never met Jorge, but I can tell you that I feel like he’s sitting next to me every second of the day, even as I write this letter with tears in my eyes, I can feel his presence and his content feeling that justice was served for him, and many others that have suffered this fate. Jorge is the story, I am the messenger that made sure it was heard and read.

Always remember that your most powerful weapon in this world, is your VOICE. God bless the WORLD and god bless the Jorge.

 - Christopher Pagan who didn’t know the victim personally but posted the news on CNN’s iReport website on Nov 15, 2009.

Reader's Comments

1. 2009-11-18 19:03  
AWFUL. That son of a bitch investigator needs a kick in his ass. And join the Facebook group y'All!
2. 2009-11-18 19:26  
an appalling, horrible, brutal, disgusting, hateful, evil act by one human being upon another. My heart, my gut and my spirit ache.
3. 2009-11-18 21:36  
The crime as such and the statement of the policeman are absolutely unacceptable. Those who think others do deserve their bad treatement because they are, in a way or another, "different" from them, should know that they surely belong to one or more "minorities" themself and that could be a victim themselves! La! Just imagin a racist asking about the ethnic origin of the policeman, huh?
4. 2009-11-18 21:44  
Thanks should go to Christopher Pagan for bringing this to the world's attention and shaming the authorities into taking action. One person writing a letter from the heart. Amazing.
5. 2009-11-18 21:47  
that is so horrible,´scared!
pooor boy,hope he get peace in heaven.
and he deserve Respect and Justice!!!!!!!
6. 2009-11-19 00:26  
Jorge had every right to live and I am absolutely horrified that a fellow human being can do such a brutal and mind-twistingly act against another loving, warm and harmless human being.
You are in my thoughts Jorge and I sincerely hope your legacy and impact will have a long lasting meaning to all in Puerto Rico and beyond.
Comment edited on 2009-11-19 00:27:41
7. 2009-11-19 00:30  
Well, Puerto Rico has long enjoyed all the benefits of essentially being the 51st US state with none of the commensurate responsibilities. I sincerely hope that has changed and that the scum responsible for this are charged under the new US Federal gay hate crime law. Thank you to Fridae and Sylvia Tan for bringing this story to light... I'd have been unaware of it otherwise.

No one sworn to upholding and enforcing the law should be able to retain his job after making such a statement.
8. 2009-11-19 00:47  
Hmmmm I wonder if the investigator thinks rich people deserve to be robbed because they have money.
9. 2009-11-19 01:04  
It's almost irrelevant that the victim was gay - almost - because how could Anybody, especially a kid, deserve such a horrific fate? It's sickening; if I'd read of a serial killer being so murdered, I'd still feel pity for him, and compassion for his family. As it is, if the victim here was murdered for being gay - and it's possible that's Not why - well, it still seems like an awful, brutal crime, and I'm sorry for him, and those he left behind...
10. 2009-11-19 01:21  
I'd go even further and have the officer fired. He needs to lose his job if that is the amount of compassion he has for other human beings.
11. 2009-11-19 03:19  
As a Civil Rights Activist of a very famous Civil Rights Group "Southern Proverty Law Center", I also find this hate crime very shocking & disgusting. That poor young lad Jorge Steven Lopez Mercado deserves justice 100%[may god rest his soul]. As for those 2 bloody nasty dreadful people Juan A. Martinez & that police officer should stand trial for this evil, sickening,hateful crime. As a Civil Rights Activist for "Southern Proverty Law Center", I want to gave a special thanks to "Fridae" & Sylvia Tan for posting this story. And a huge very special thanks goes to Christopher Pagan for bring the entire Civil Rights Groups & the entire nation's attention about this most very important story that everyone around the world should hear about.
12. 2009-11-19 03:23  
it still shows there plenty of stupid ppl out there
13. 2009-11-19 03:45  
same treatment for murderer would be an acceptable punishment
14. 2009-11-19 04:12  
Wonder how long before Pagan comes out! Or will he just be turned out in prison?
15. 2009-11-19 04:35  
correction fribart, christopher pagan is not the suspect. he posted the news in cnn.

"International news wires and CNN have since followed up on the case in which a 26-year-old male suspect identified by Primera Hora newspaper as Juan A. Martínez has been arrested on early Tuesday morning."
16. 2009-11-19 04:47  
My heart goes out to the victims.
17. 2009-11-19 07:36  
As long as this kind of behaviour is still found acceptable, we will still have a long way to go until everyone gets accepted, no matter how "different" he or she is....
18. 2009-11-19 11:02  
Another Sad time for GAY LIFE.... The loss of such a young guy for being who he is. Comments about "US" are so damaging and Fuel Fires that scare others....Will discrimination ever stop? Is our world getting better, Im not so sure, lately its a real harsh and horrible place at times.
R.I.P young man.
19. 2009-11-19 14:18  
This was the first thing I read this morning. I have nothing else to say but that this is motivation, or at least should be, for the LGBTQ community to unite and help one another in times likes this and everyday.
20. 2009-11-19 15:54  
My heart goes out to Jorge's family and friends. No being deserves to die like he did.

FRIDAE COMMUNITY: Please check to see if there will be a vigil for him where you live. The main one will be in NYC Sunday, Nov. 22. The world needs to know who Jorge Steven Lopez Mercado was and how he was killed. May he rest in peace.
Comment edited on 2009-11-19 16:01:16
21. 2009-11-19 17:24  
burnt?? i hope the murderer gets executed painfully.
22. 2009-11-19 18:46  
if d victim is ur son im sure u say he deserved it too....shame on u as a human and a law enforcer!!
23. 2009-11-19 21:09  
Hate crimes against gay people women or any minority is encouraged by the view that these people are seen as weak and will not fight back. Bullies love proper decent behaving victims. A guaranteed walk over.

I have had said this countless times, minorities DO NOT need to request the approval of the masses. DEMAND it ! When the unjust world hits one of your own, UNITE and SLAM back twice as hard. There's no language like "taste your own medicine!".
There's a time to tolerate and there's a time to fight. All this talk of love, tolerance and offer your other butt cheek is BS crap.

God rest Jorge's soul and offer peace to his family and loved ones! Amen.

PS: Look at the murderer, he's wearing a rosary around his neck. How christian...zzz
Comment #24 was deleted by its author on 2009-11-19 21:22
25. 2009-11-19 21:22  
A research shows that most of homophobic men had repressed their own homosexuality. In the University of Georgia study, homophobic men (as measured by the Index of Homophobia) were considerably more likely to experience more erectile responses when exposed to homoerotic images than non-homophobic men. Why are there so many homophobic people in the society? Partly because of discrimination and stigma. Without comprehensive sexuality education, repeal of anti-gay laws and a more open treatment to gay issues, social homophobia will persist. As Thomas & Butler argue, homophobia can be rooted in an individual's fear of being identified as gay. This fear, in turn, is rooted in the anti-homosexual laws, policies and stigma.

While Hate Crime laws may prosecute offenders, they do nothing to reduce, and may even worsen, social homophobia. Can the dead be revived if we prosecute the offenders? No. Will less gay people have fear for being identified as gay? No. Governments around the world should take the lead in countering this social problem by removing the mentioned obstacles. It has to start from education. If children and their parents are provided CSE, it serves not to reduce this social problem, but also many other problems such as HIV, premarital pregnancies, premarital sex, and self-hatred (internalised homophobia among LGBT).

Coming back to the policeman in this case. I actually sympathise with him. As the mentioned Georgia study reveals, there is a high likelihood that this person is a gay who has been trying hard to repress his sexual orientation. If this speculation is accurate, he must have suffered a lot since his childhood or puberty. If any party has to be blamed, it is not him, but the society he grew up in that caused him so much fear to accept his own homosexual tendency. So much so that he developed his strong homophobia.

I hope that the Obama Administration will take the lead in offering CSE across US like what the Brown Cabinet had for the UK. It will have more profound effects on reducing hate crimes than hate crime laws.

But before this can be done on a global scale, gay organisations around the world's role in redressing inequalities is paramount. For example, by putting this case in the spotlight, we can raise public awareness of the problem. Before any solution can be considered, the public have to realise that there is a problem. This case does raise this awareness. We should use the internet and the mass media as powerful tools to dig out obscured news like this and bring them to global, public awareness.
26. 2009-11-19 21:24  
My skin crawled when I read how he was killed! >__<

27. 2009-11-19 22:33  
There are always many reasons to kill a person. Some love too much, most are hate.

I always curious after killing, the murderer take his/her time to "handle" the body, like chop into pieces or cook it...creepy!!
28. 2009-11-19 23:07  
Of course any murder is horrible and the seemingly excessively brutal nature of this murder makes it even more vile.
Do we know for a fact that this young boy was killed because he was gay, or is it simply speculation? We should never jump to conclusions.

It is interesting to note that only one person heard this comment. There is no record of others hearing this comment?? How did this one person nobody ever heard of before come to be the one to hear this comment? Why have no others come forward to back up Mr. Pagan's statement?

The the only references I can find in recognized news sources relating to the case make no mention of this police oficers comment.

Additionally, no reference in recognized media sources indicate that it is unusual for someone to be promptly arrested for a murder in Puerto Rico.

I find many legitimate references that highlight the outrage of gay activists and gay affiliated organizations and the suggestions that this is or might be a hate crime ( let me state very clearly - murder is motivated by hate, anger and jealousy, not love, kindness and other good feelings.).

Before we get all upset about alleged injustices in the penal system in Puerto Rico, let us see how the investigation, trial and sentencing play out in time.

One last remark on the ALLEGED comment by the police investigator - let us wait to see how that plays out .... it is not inconceivable that he never said those words and it is of course not inconceibable that he did. If he did, I feel sorry for him, but he is still entitled to have his own thoughts and opinions. We cannot ask the world to allow us free expression for ourselves and deny it to others, even the ACLU ( which I loathe) supports the right of "hate" speech.

We lose credibility with the larger community when we cry hatred and bigotry at every turn.

29. 2009-11-20 00:54  
It is sad that hate crimes still happen but think we must not lose sight that a fellow gay person wrote in to bring to the world the injustice that was done. And he succeeded and it is out on the media! Hope this can change the mentality of some people in Puerto Rico especially the police. No one "deserves" violence. I can imagine hate crimes happening frequently in different parts of the world not only against sexual orientation but also skin color, ethnicity, religion.
30. 2009-11-20 00:59  
lol...ppl nowaday so busy with their things...after sometimes, ppl tend to forget the whole thing, more it like "none of my business" juicy news for people to make some noise out of boring life.
Comment #31 was deleted by its author on 2009-11-20 02:06
32. 2009-11-20 02:01  
Thanks Fridae for this unfortunate news. I for one have shared the news on my Facebook and will post on other social networks.

Member Sunthenmoon's statements above aid open discussion and hopefully action.. unfortunately Member Wed (right above) seems to have a different outlook and possible his will remove his thoughtless post.
Comment #33 was deleted by its author on 2009-11-20 02:11
34. 2009-11-20 02:11  
Hi #28,

Allow me to explain what really happened. Matos is the suspected murderer. Jorge is the victim, a gay who looked like a female. Matos picked up Jorge in the streets, thinking Jorge was a woman. Matos discovered later that Jorge was male. This evoked an unhappy memory. Matos had been imprisoned before. During his time in the prison, he had been sexually assaulted by males. This had been the cause of the conflict between Matos & Jorge.

If Matos were a female who had been raped by males before, he might have resorted to the same violent reaction if he became sexually assaulted by male straight rapists again. Additionally, there is no evidence to suggest that he had actively targeted at gays at large. In this case, it was Jorge who pretended to be a woman in order to seduce him in the first. When Matos picked up Jorge in the street, he thought Jorge was a female. He found out that Jorge was a male only later. Matos felt threatened by homosexual assault again.

The US Hate Crime law only applies if the offender is targeting at a group because of their sexual orientation, race, etc. Since Matos could not be proven to be predatory on the gay community and was only overreacting because he felt threatened, I don't think it's fair to use Hate Crime law on him.

Now, who should be charged under Hate Crime law? I think the police officer should be investigated for violations under this law. The reason? This law prosecutes illegal acts against someone motivated by his sexual orientation or gender identity. If it is found out that this police officer had not acted legally, that is, dealt with the investigation of this case with due diligence and as required under the police department's codes (illegal act), and this is motivated by Jorge's sexual orientation or gender identity (provision under Hate Crime law) rather than what Jorge did to him, then this police officer could be charged under this law, meaning that he may have to be charged in a Federal court instead of just receiving disciplinary actions from the local police department. As long as the Federal agencies have evidence that:
1) he had not acted legally in his conduct as a police officer, and
2) it was motivated by Jorge's gender identity or sexual orientation (which they have reason to suspect because he had commented that Jorge deserved it) rather than specific things Jorge did to him
then he could be charged under Hate Crime.

Beside Jorge's sexual orientation and gender identity, there doesn't seem to exist any other reason that would motivate this police officer to say that Jorge deserved it and, perhaps, if proven later, to not have conducted the investigation properly.
35. 2009-11-20 07:06  
Post # 28 Kuman10127,

You doubt the veracity of Mr. Pagan, and whether the words were uttered, however you don't seem to have clicked on the links below the above article, from which it is clear that the police remarks were televised, and are not denied by the police, but they claim the meaning was distorted.

The penultimate link ( see the latest translation towards the bottom of that page) states:

" "his kind of people, when they get involved in this and go out on the street, know that this can happen to them," were the words that the investigating officer spoke to Univisión news.
Chief among those who expressed their discomfort at those comments was the lawyer Vance Thomas, Executive Director of the Civil Rights Commission, who urged the Police Superintendent José Figueroa Sancha, to bring administrative charges against the officer.

"In addition to removing him (Rodríguez Colón) from the case, you must file administrative charges. I know of no context in which one can justify saying that a person asked to be killed," said Thomas.
He said he will ask the attorney general, Antonio Sagardía, to reactivate a committee that was established in 2008 to prosecute hate crimes.

The Police Superintendent, for his part, waved off this complaint, saying that he didn't hear the officer's words but that "none of his agents are allowed to make homophobic statements."

Meanwhile, the Director of Police of the Guayama region, Héctor Agosto, said that the statement by Rodríguez had been distorted and that the officer had no intention at any time of disrespecting gay or lesbian groups."
36. 2009-11-20 07:52  

There's a TV interview with the police superintendent (in Spanish) here I found via youtube:


This may be the one referred to above, maybe a Spanish speaker can tell us what it says.
37. 2009-11-20 08:32  
This kind of violence can happen any where, just make sure the next ones not you, careful what you focus on or you may attract just that, Gay men ought to always never be too paranoid or too blase about personal safety, being 'out N proud' doesn't mean we need to be 'professional queers' either, one ought to always be sure to conduct him/her self in ways that is beneficial to personal survival in the social climates we live in, it's easy in the inner cities of enlightened Democratic nations so if you don't live in one why emulate behaviour what will inevitably bring you grief it doesn't make sence, thats not pioneering that's stupidity.
38. 2009-11-20 12:39  
Post 35

I did not click any link from this websight. In fact, I did not even notice those listed at the bottom of the article. I ran a few other searches and failed to find anything relating to remarks of such a nature.
I do not have sound on my computer, so it would be pointless to attempt to listen to the remarks you have indicated.
If the remark was uttered ( as you indicate it was ) it really is secondary to the main issue. A tragic crime occurred. An arrest was made and presumably justice will be served and the perpetrator will be executed ( if Puerto Rico allows for capitol punishment - which I hope they do).
Just a few blocks away from where I live, at my local gay bar, the owner was tortured and killed a few years ago, by a person of questionable repute that he ( the owner ) engaged in a drug induced sexual encounter with, after the closing of the bar. Apparently the perpetrator felt that the bar owner took some liberties beyond what he felt was appropriate to his manhood and he killed him in a brutal and violent manner, not to the extreme as in the Puerto Rico case, but in a manner any civil person would find vile and unspeakable. The local police were of course made uncomfortable by the setting and the scenario, and similar thoughts no doubt were expressed privately, but the net result was still an arrest, prosecution and punishment of the perpetrator. No hate crime law was needed, no international investigations, no intrusive do-gooders got in the way. Just as it almost always happens, the equal enforcement of justice prevailed.
No doubt, if the bar owner had been prudent, he would not have engaged in a drug induced wild scene with some street thug type that wandered in the bar. Nobody deserves such a fate, but sometimes an individual has to accept some accountability for the outcome of his actions.
As to Mr Pagan, he is really appears to be of little or no consequence to this situation, except that he brought national and apparently international attention to something that is largely a local issue and occurs daily - a senseless murder. In fact, the niece of one of my lifelong family friends was murdered in Texas recently for nothing more than being in the wrong place when I crime was being committed and the offender killed her because she was in his way as he was making his get-away. It sounds like the normal alarmists in the gay "community" are making him into some sort of hero, when he really might have done nothing at all but share a bit of juicy gossip.

39. 2009-11-20 16:14  
40. 2009-11-20 17:18  
this is so terribly sad ... i wanna slowly torture the murderer! >:(
41. 2009-11-20 18:17  
Post 38,Kuman: are you sure you're being objective re this case, or are you simply airing your inherent dislike of anyone you deem to be an "activist"?
42. 2009-11-20 19:17  
OMG!! as a human being WE all have equal rights...be it in social interaction,life,marriage of death. Why is thr still injustice and biase towards others who are different? All people around the world must learn to accept the world is big enough for everyone. Brutal actions doesnt solve any problem..it leads to more problem, i urge the goverments all over the world to educate the people tat differences doesnt make us aliens. Imagine he/she could be ur sons/daughters/nieces/nephews/cousins/father/mother or ever ur spoiuse. I implore please be open minded towards changes..
43. 2009-11-20 21:54  

post 41 - I am not certain if Mr. Pagan is an activist or an alarmist. I have no inherent dislike of anyone. I am not quite certain what an activist is actually. Assuming it is someone that uses their available resources to advance an idea or cause they support, then I am an activist myself.
I am an activist for the objectivity of our laws. I am not an activist for controlling thought or limiting any individuals feedom, including the freedom to to believe in things in find abhorent.
Perhaps I am fortunate for experiencing little or no negative backlash to my homosexuality over the years, as I cannot truly recall experiencing any hatred as a consequence of "coming out" or being a homosexual, but that is not the issue here.
The totality of my comments have continually related to us not leaping to judgements and make assumptions that propel the actions of one person to a level of consequence when there is likely little evidence to suggest that raising the awareness of this specific situation made the outcome any different.
We can never go back in time and see if the perpetrator would have been arrested had Mr. Pagan not raised his alarm over the alleged comments of the police investigator, but the tone of this article and the "gay media" seems to credit him with forcing action, when in fact he might have done nothing of any consequence.
I do not gamle, but if I was a "betting man" I would lay my odds with the legal/judicial system pursuing criminals without the pressure of 3rd party alarmists.

If I am wrong and there is some substantive proof someone can offer to suggest the Puertorican police would not have pursued and arrested such a vile murderer, then present it to us and I will gladly retract my words relative to this specific case and offer loud words of appreciation to Mr. Pagan, until then, my comments have ended, as I think the actions of the police at this time are what need to be applauded.

44. 2009-11-21 01:56  
Post 43 Kuman,

Fair enough, nothing wrong with not jumping to conclusions, and we certainly can't say pending the full story coming out in Court, whether this particularly awful murder was a hate crime as defined in Puerto Rico. You're also right that people should be careful about crying wolf. And I'm not sure what constitutes an activist either.

However, you launched a totally unmerited attack on the credibility of Mr. Pagan, without looking at the reports properly. Your first, knee-jerk reaction to the story was that this guy was probably lying about the officer's statement for some ulterior motive, and you put forward your half-hearted search as evidence to support that prejudice. Now, what's that about?
45. 2009-11-21 04:56  
I was just reading a sad article about an 18-year-old boy in Singapore who died from being kicked in the head and beaten by three members of a rival gang. In this case, things were clear-cut. It wasn't a sexual issue, or a racial issue, or a religious issue. It was just a matter of turf, and wounded pride. The blow may not have been intended as a lethal one, but it was, nonetheless, to the boy's parents at least, a terrible crime of hate. In another case, a boy cut another boy's face, a case of mistaken identity. Again, it was clear-cut, no pun intended, fortunately.

Justice. Isn't that what we all crave for ALL the victims of hate and injustice, including racial, sexual, religious and political, throughout the centuries and today? Human justice is sadly too often not that at all.

OmG, "Let justice roll down like the waters..." One day it will. Perfectly. I believe.
46. 2009-11-21 07:45  
I hope the speed in which the suspect was caught does affect the quality of the investigation. Police may felt pressured into detaining suspects with flimsy evidences to quell public anger. If the suspect was not the culprit, chances are the murderer is still walking free.

On a different note, should the murderer of the gay Puerto Rican teen be homosexual, is this still considered hate crime homicide? Do we automatically labeled all gay-related incidences to be hate crimes until proven that the perpetrators were not gay and called it accordingly?

Personally, the brutality of this murder is shocking. I say this not because he's gay or I'm gay. I say this as a fellow human being. Rest in peace Jorge Steven Lopez Mercado.
47. 2009-11-21 17:14  
There are always self loathing Larry Craig wannabes in any public forum like Fridae. Others, are relentless attention seeking self proclaimed/delusional bi-dad bimbos out for its 1.5 seconds of daily fame. Recognize these negative dysfunctional elements and ignore their pukes. They wear themselves out easily.

Anyone who can trample upon the sanctity of another's demise from a heinous crime, without so much as to accord the due respect of investigative circumstantial process & probability, is simply a hardcore loser; and will always remain so even in full view of any factual evidence. This is how self hate individuals exists/persists. It darkens everything inside, outside and around themselves. As good as dead and then some. ;)
48. 2009-11-21 17:29  
Hello, fellow human being and thinker, "zgmm" :)

If the solution to hate, is hate for other tribes, even those who would do us no harm, then we should all be justified to end up slamming planes into tall buildings, killing everyone of every religion, sexuality or politics including our own, just to make a point.

I hope, however, if we had been there that fateful day, that we would all have had the spiritual, moral and physical courage to have stood between, say, Matthew Shepard and his murderers. That would have been justified, and truly courageous. Hate-filled words, ultimately, are not, and may end up with many more deaths, including those who are innocent, like children or people who do not hate other tribes.

The girl who was killed in the shooting in the Tel Aviv gay bar earlier this year, was actually "straight". But like "zgmm" says, she was firstly a fellow human being. Fortunately, that incident was not fuelled further by hate. Love. None of us is perfect, and we all get hurt sometimes, but sometimes we forget, me included, what that word really means. But it does not mean you can't stand up for what is true, and what is loving. And if you can say that you would have stood between Matthew and his murderers that day because of Love, i would be inspired by your courage, and very proud to have stood by your side.
49. 2009-11-21 22:40  
So very very sad. What a disgusting individual the police officer is. What a disgusting crime to have happen once again to show the rest of the world that the Gay population means NOTHING in the eyes of so many. We havent as yet heard of this story in our media lets wait & see but I doubt it very much we will. We have here in Australia a DO NOTHING Prime Minister when it comes to these sorts of crimes he & our State Premiers are a Do nothing bunch of maggots. How many more times has something like this need have to happen before we have here in Australia the same responsible laws like the law passed by the President of the United States on behalf of Matthew Shepards parents. We feel we are so isolated in this country that these kinds of crimes DONT ever happen. We in Sydney Australia have one of the largest populations of gay people in the world yet we have a government both federally & state that are so weak they sit back & do nothing. We have the religious right who have people sitting currently in our houses of parliament who despise & ridicule the gay population all because of their religious beliefs. What a sad situation & a sad world we live in when even the so called leaders are so scared of their religious masters they do nothing to protect all its citizens from events like these. The Matthew Shepard killing & now Jorge Steven Lopez. Its really NOW time not last week or tomorrow or in a months time to show the so called leaders of this, Australia & the rest of the world that we are not going to sit back & have to read stories like this anymore. So the young man was gay, so what he is human like you & me we all bleed the same colour. In America you have to put up with the likes of an organisation called "GOD HATES FAGS" led by that appalling Reverend Fred Phelps & his despised family & followers. We have here people like David Clarke, Fred Nile who sit in our houses of parliament condemming Homosexuality as an obomination against the rest of society. Its time NOW that our so called leaders of the GLBT here in Australia sat up & take notice of this crime & every other that has been perpetrated on not just the gay community, you say you are here to represent ALL sex & hate crimes. If you wont well STAND DOWN from your positions & allow people with some backbone to speak up & represent us. Its time NOW for our so called representatives in our houses of parliament to take notice that these crimes are happening & once & for all do something about them. Penalties for crimes like these are so weak that the perpetrator is out in just a few years of being sent to prison. Its time that our spineless Prime Minister Kevin Rudd.... yes remember his name the man that wants to float around the world saving everything & everyone did something about it. We have a opposition leader Malcolm Turnbull who by all accounts has the largest constituency of gay people living in his electorate who unfortunately has to as they put it "toe the party line & oppose anything that might help the gay population in this country. Statistics have shown that the majority of Australians dont have an issue with the gay population it only appears to come from our religious leaders & followers, bigots & the uneducated. Homosexuals are not child molesters as some might suggest we are people & yes I will say it "just like you & me". Its time every person whether it be here or somewhere else throughout the world now stand up to these zealots. We dont & shouldn't have to live in fear because of over zealous religious people. There is enough killing of gay & straight people because people are afraid of what they know nothing about. Lets hope for the sake of this young mans family they make an example of this oxygen thief & punish him the way he should be punished whether it be the death penalty or life without any release. He & people like him should rot in gaol for the rest of their lives. Would be great to hear what the leaders of the worlds churches are saying on this matter but then again we all know where people like the Catholic Pope the Anglican Church & these other deadbeat organisations stand. ITS TIME PEOPLE to voice as ONE.
50. 2009-11-30 20:09  
Il est vraiment triste, triste .... :'((
R.I.P Monsieur Mercado.

Steveuk Post #44: If one's response toward such a tragic muder can only be suspicion & thinly-veiled scorn, you already know he/she/they are below the level of a decent human being. Ignore them.

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